2007, Tue, Oct 09

Gary Shteyngart

Downtown, Uptown, Crosstown - Literature from New York

Gary Shteyngart | (c) Promo

Gary Shteyngart | (c) Promo

Ten protagonists of the New York literary scene read at the House of World Cultures: famous voices and newcomers, novelists and poets. Polyphony in all respects – these authors offer insights into the diversity of cultural, ethnic and social affiliations that make up life in New York. They tell of worlds between cultures, of experience at the margins of society, and they search for forms through which to portray the complexity of our globalised present.


Shteyngart, of Russian Jewish background, immigrated to the US in 1979. Using satire and the grotesque, he portrays life in the era of dizzying globalisation. He will read from "Absurdistan", his novel about Snack Daddy, the fat, sex-addicted son of a Russian Jewish oligarch in New York who one day ends up stuck in Russia. Absurdistan characterises multinational corporations and their mafia-like structures, decaying cities, US imperialism and "New Tribalism" with unbridled fantasy. Any similarity with real figures or situations is of course pure coincidence.Frank Arnold reads from the German translation.

Moderated by Knut Elstermann (freelance journalist).